COLLEGE STATION, Texas - They feel like winners in Aggieland on Saturday night after Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was named the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
Proud Aggies have waited a long time for this kind of party after students, alumni and fans gathered at the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center on campus.
“We feel like we’ve been toiling in anonymity for so long and for Johnny and Coach (Kevin) Sumlin to come along,” Hugh McElroy, an A&M alumnus, said. “It’s just a release.”
For some, the years of trying to fight their way back into the national spotlight has been difficult.
“I feel sort of like the (Chicago) Cubs fans of college football,” Troy Ireland, an Aggies fan, said. “I mean, we suffer through a lot of things and when we have momentum and things going our way, people get extremely excited about it and they show it.”
In a school married to tradition, they did something new.
“We’re going to spell out Heisman okay? H-E-I-S-M-A-N!” announced the Aggie Yell Leaders.
But a yell just cannot put into words how much this means for the Aggies.
“This is like a momentous occasion for A&M and all Aggies everywhere,” Kayla Mott, an A&M student, said.
The ceremony drew everyone’s even during a busy week of final exams.
“(You put aside studying for accounting?) Yes. It wasn’t hard to make the decision,” Allison Anderson, a student, said.
“It is finals week. I’ve got four left so… A good man once said it’s not the grades you make, it’s the hands you shake,” Ryan Schoeneberg, a student, said.
One fan said it was more than that.
“He’s not watching TV. He’s watching history!” Troy Ireland, an Aggies fan, said.
John Cozad was here in ’57, the last time an Aggie won the Heisman.
“I heard about it announced the day after it happened,” Cozad, an A&M alumnus, said.
He said the reaction this time is far different.
“A&M’s been down in football for so long that this just rejuvenates a lot of former students that almost had given up,” Cozad said.
Now, Aggies everywhere have every reason to yell.